Trust, but verify

Or, in the case of a teenage boy who has spent 3 years building his reputation for utter laziness & unabashed lying in regards to schoolwork – don’t trust AT ALL!

Two full weeks into high school and I am on the lookout for *those* signs. I get his teacher list & search the website for their homework pages & bookmark them & check the grading system daily. As always there is at least one teacher who refuses to use the online grading program (Why, of all things, it is the *science* teachers who refuse to use the latest technology?!) which makes my job more challenging. She also only gives homework on a damn printed sheet of paper two months at a time! Luckily on day one he is slightly more focused & carrying good intentions so he shows me that and I make 10 copies so that there is NO WAY he can use the excuse of losing it for missing any future assignments.(Hey, I had to make a copy anyway for him to take to his dads 🙂 I’m not obsessive. Really.)

Another teacher doesn’t use the main website for her homework page, she uses yet another sign on access system. As of Monday I still didn’t have an access code for that one and it was in the one subject that he is MOST likely to screw up – English.  Grrrrr. On top of that, it is also the one subject that has assigned no homework according to him. He’s had something to do after every Math, Biology & Spanish class yet nothing in English? Oh, my suspicious mind is running into overdrive. Even though the grading system shows him early on carrying a 98 in the class, it has only been for turning in my signature on an information page and then a couple of daily quizzes. Then I am wandering through the local bookstore on Saturday and I see a table with a sign on it saying “TPHS 9th grade English reading” with a pile of the usual books we probably all also read in 9th grade. Hairs on the back of my neck go up “There’s a reading list? Why don’t I know about this?! Crap, which book should he be reading right now?!” (now you are thinking: Hey, you signed an information page, didn’t you read it? yeah, about that…um..shush!)

So yesterday morning I sent off an email to the teacher to just introduce myself because I really don’t want to wait for Back to School night next Wednesday just to find out that there is an entire book he was supposed to have finished reading with a paper due the next day.  I ask her about how to get access to that secondary system so that I can check homework & whether she has assigned any & about the reading list. First off she scores points for returning my email within 30 mins on a school day. Nice! No need to buy the books, she has them in her class. She has assigned homework, though not much so far and he was current with it (must have finished it in class). Then she sent me the access code to the other system though she did say she sent it home with last week. Well, he was with his dad so I didn’t get it. Turns out he held onto it ON PURPOSE because HE didn’t trust his dad! So…all is well. Panic averted. He hasn’t blown it – yet – and his English teacher scored points with me for being so quick to respond.

But then, she blew it.


Because she told the class that if they are going to struggle or fail a class in high school, 9th grade is the year to do it since colleges only start looking at transcripts from 10th grade on. (yeah, I knew that, but HE didn’t & it is only the prospect of missing out on a scholarship that has this boy focusing right now!)


One thought on “Trust, but verify

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  1. Been there, done that….in 9th grade my older daughter thought classwork got in the way of her social life….but settled down and took things seriously when she got to her junior year. I laugh every time I thnk about how my daughter who failed 9th grade English is now …get this…an English major.

    Hang in there, eventually he’ll take a more mature approach to his work.


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